I can’t stop baking these. I’ve already planned to make them again in 2 1/2 weeks so we can eat them for breakfast on Christmas morning. They remind me of my days as a student at The French Pastry School, when obviously, pastries were plentiful.
Flaky, tender, and feather-light, homemade ‘quick’ puff pastry serves as the base for these tartlets. Then they’re topped with ripe, yet slightly firm pears, and baked. Golden brown and fresh out of the oven, a lightly spiced powdered sugar glaze is drizzled over the tops, creating warm, sweet, fruity, flaky pastry goodness.
I made this dough and used it over several days. Each morning I’d roll out two or three squares and bake them off so we had fresh pastries with our coffee. Because they’re so simple, you don’t need to bake them all up at once. You could even make the dough, roll it out, cut out your squares or desired shapes, and freeze them, well wrapped. The night before you wish to devour them, pull them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge to thaw overnight. The next morning you will have perfectly chilled, puff pastry squares ready to use. No rolling, no mess, very easy. The holidays are busy enough, so why not make things a little simpler?
Another great use for this pastry is to cut out a large rectangle or square. Cover it with pear or apple slices, and bake. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with caramel sauce for a super easy but impressive looking dinner dessert.
Have I won you over yet?
Consider looking out your window, pastry in hand, and sipping your coffee in the morning. We already have the view, so why not make it even more splendid?
Happy baking, everyone.
How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:
Spiced Pear Pastries
Pastry slightly adapted from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri
- INSTANT PUFF PASTRY:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2¼ sticks (9 oz) cold unsalted butter
- ½-3/4 cup cold water
- 4-5 ripe but still firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼" slices
- SPICED GLAZE:
- ⅓ cup milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- TO MAKE THE PASTRY: Combine the flour and salt in large mixing bowl.
- Cut each stick of butter into small pieces and add the bowl with the flour mixture.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is the size of small peas.
- Add ½ cup cold water and stir the dough with your hand. Gently push the dough around and fold it on top of itself until evenly moistened. It should form a dough and hold together easily. If it's still on the dry side, add a little more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired dough consistency is achieved.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll the dough ¼" thick, into a long rectangle. Use flour to keep it from sticking to the surface and your rolling pin.
- Fold the rectangle in half, starting with the left end and folding it over so it touches the right end of the pastry dough. Fold in half again.
- Turn the folded dough 90 degrees and roll it out again, folding exactly the same.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least an hour before using.
- Once dough is chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to ¼" thickness.
- Using a sharp knife, cut out rectangles or squares of desired size. Mine are usually about 3" x 4" or for longer pastries, 3 x 6".
- Place each pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2" apart.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Fan the pear slices over each pastry. If they're hanging over the edges, trim them a little.
- Bake the pastries for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are a deep golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze- whisk together the milk, powdered sugar, and spices until smooth.
- Let the pastries cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle with the glaze while still warm. These are best eaten warm!
- Makes about 12-15 pastries.
Note: This recipe was adapted for high altitude baking. Keep in mind that at sea level, you may not need as much water, and that baking times may vary slightly.